Travels with Shiva

I’ve been making a slow-travel through California on this little trip home to the US.  After a week of being spoiled by girl time and good cooking with a friend in Southern California, I hopped a train to LA and further north.  There was a moment of adventure at the train station when I realized that the tracks there were closed and no train would be arriving.  With only 10 minutes to get to the next station and catch my train, I had some luck with two guys and a pick up truck who generously loaded up me and my baggage and another poor soul who didn’t get the news of the closed station.  We pulled up to the next station just as a train was getting ready to leave and breathed a sigh of relief that we would make our destination.

Beach Tracks

Once in LA, I headed straight for the greyhound station where it felt as though I’d never left Central America.  I sat in the midst of Latinos from Mexico and El Salvador, and all greyhound employees seemed to be bi-lingual.  I felt right at home!   I somehow managed to miss my first bus north, so had a long wait for the next one.

Finally on the bus, I settled in for a 9 hour trek north to visit some more friends.  I was pleased to learn that the greyhound came with high speed internet that worked with about as much frequency as internet did in Nicaragua.  I had some time to communicate with friends and download some podcasts.  Amazingly, that’s been one of the steadiest streams of internet on this adventure so far!

I had some setbacks while traveling, which only served to highlight how smoothly my travels normally go.  I am grateful that plans so often turn out as I expect and that I rarely miss a bus, train, or plane.  I was also grateful for the help of friends and strangers, from my friend who tried to rush me to LA one day and then the train station the next, the 2 gents in the pick-up truck who ran me to the next train station, and the sweet guy working at greyhound who offered me some tea when he realized the day I was having.  There was even a friendly gangster waiting at the station in the north who talked about how he’d always been intrigued by yoga.  There’s been good conversation and helping hands all along this journey.

At the moment, I’m surrounded by mostly new friends and doing my best to stay warm in Autumn in the northwest. I bought myself a fuzzy pair of red wool socks today, and I have a feeling they will become my newest prized possession, along with the princess sleeping bag I picked up at a thrift store slightly south of here.  I’m enjoying my first trip to California.  There’s a great mix of people from all over the world, and overall a very tranquillo vibe in the air.

The ground is a little nobbly for traditional yoga, so I’ve been practicing some standing poses with friends and some gratitude and meditations connecting with the natural spirit that surrounds me.  One of my favorite standing poses to soak up the goodness of sunshine and gratitude and give me a nice heart opening and quadriceps stretch is Natarajasana, King Dancer Pose.

 

natarajasana

 

This pose is named for the dance of Shiva Nataraja, where each movement of a limb changes perspective, thus utterly altering the illusion of the reality that we surround ourselves with.  You can attain this pose after practicing a few Sun Salutations B to warm up your body.  Begin by finding a dristi, or non-moving point n front of you.  Allow your gaze to soften on this point and allow your connection to breath to strengthen your connection to your dristi.  When you are ready, reach your right leg behind you and grasp your foot with your right hand.  Flare your toes out and press them into your hand as you isometrically draw your hand back towards your body.  Extend your left arm up above you and bring your thumb and forefinger together into Gian Mudra, the mudra of conciousness that symbolizes the connection we share with all of the universe.   Keeping your gaze connected to your dristi point, send your heart forward as you kick your foot up and back. If you shake, simply refocus on your dristi and come consciously back into the pose.  Hold for a few breaths, then practice the other side.

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